According to comScore, 78% of consumers who execute mobile local search end up making a purchase, 70% of them within one hour from searching. ‘Local Search‘ is when a user searches for a place or a city name, and usually gets results related to that location.
Say your shop is situated in New York City, obviously you’ll want anyone in New York searching online for services and products similar to yours to have your business’ address showing up among the first search results, but how do you achieve that?
Among the many possible ways, you need to add your business to the many online mapping services and lists offered by major providers. Doing so will get you free traffic, enhance your SEO authority, and eventually increase your sales.
I’ve picked the top four Local Search providers, and they are: Google Places For Business, Yahoo! Local, MapQuest and Bing Business Portal. Please note that most of them support only the US for the time being.
1 – Google Places For Business
Also called Google+ Local, Places For Business aims mainly to help whoever ‘googles’ for a local business, by showing results supported with photos and videos, brands, categories, exact map location, working hours, etc. It does this by creating local listings, provided by users and business owners. (Places does not support all countries yet! Check the list here.)
To add your business to Google Places (Link), you’ll obviously need a Google account, and to choose between 2 plans: free and paid. The Free plan pretty much gives you everything, while the paid plan allows for 2 extra services; AdWords Express and Google Offers which pushes coupons to your customers whenever they’re in close proximity of your business’ location.
After filling in all the needed information about your business, you’ll be then asked to verify your data. You’ll be sent a PIN code, either to your phone or to your business address. Once verified, your business will show up on the map.
2 – MapQuest
MapQuest is very similar to Google Maps, albeit with more ads shown, and outdated satellite imagery. Nevertheless, millions still use MapQuest services, and they offer free business listings from this link. Please note that at time of writing those lines, MapQuest support only the US and Canada.
To start, you need a MapQuest merchant account, which you can create for free (Link). Afterwards, you need to verify your MapQuest account. In my case, it took me more than one hour before the email arrived in my inbox for email verification.
Clicking on the verification link will bring you to a page to enter your password. Next it’s time to fill out your business information. You can add any info about your business, upload a logo, website etc.
For verification, you can choose to either use a phone call or credit card. Verification can take up to 30 business days. You can get instant verification by switching to the premium service in return for paying $8.25 per month.
3 – Bing Places
Bing Places supports only the US, and is not available elsewhere. Bing is claimed to be the third largest search engine in the US, so if you have a presence in the US, it’s worthy of your time to add your business there. Bing Places does a good job when you need to add your business in bulk.
Bing Places is Microsoft’s answer to Google Places, and it tries to provide the same -more or less, as Places. Start by adding your business here (Link) or claim it if Bing already has it. You shall need a Microsoft account to add your business. Basic info is required like (Address, Phone Number, Location, etc.) then you’ll proceed to verify your business. This time around, it’s not that easy, as you’ll need to do so via snail mail, which takes from 3 to 5 days.
4 – Yahoo! Local
Same as Bing Places, Yahoo! Local is available to US-based businesses only.
For starter, Yahoo! Local has 3 basic plans: “Enhanced Listing”, “Localworks” and “Basic Listing”. Basic Listing (Link) is 100% free while Enhanced and Localworks cost $9.95/mo. and 49.99$/mo respectively. The Free Plan is decent enough, allowing you to list your phone number, opening hours, address, website etc. You need a Yahoo account to add your business, after which you’ll be required to verify your data.